With summer right around the corner, one of the cheaper times to fly is actually before Memorial Day kick-off weekend, not after. Consider one of these buzz-worthy cities for a quick jaunt and then you can get back to your regularly scheduled programming of pool parties, BBQs, and lazy beach days. Bon voyage!
Note: Airline prices were calculated using Skyscanner, departing from 7 different cities across the US, so prices vary depending on where you’re leaving from and what airline you choose to fly with. Destinations were chosen because they were less than $600 in the majority of cities at time of press.
Nothing beats spring in this increasingly trendy destination, which comes back to life in May. And while your savings account won’t take too much of a hit for the flight, it might when you discover the city’s amazing design and décor stores — full of Scandanavian influenced treasures. Look out for Designer Zoo, Royal Copenhagen, Normann Copenhagen and VITA.
Lima is a culinary capital with so many restaurants to try (Just a few you might want to make a reservation at — Central, Cosme, and Chez Wong). For décor inspo, check out the Country Club Hotel — its handsome architecture and stunning English-meets-American tudor style lobby are worth the trip; for something a little more contemporary, check out the Depa Design Store.
You’d think prices would be high because Cuba is such a trendy — and undiscovered — destination, but the magical city (which don’t worry, feels like it’s still stuck in time despite the influx of new American travelers) is the perfect place for a cultural experience. Stay in an Airbnb like this one for authentic casa vibes and to meet and interact with some of the locals, while keeping costs down. Also not to miss: Hemingway’s perfectly preserved Cuba home, Finca Vigia.
The city of love is even more lovely in May. Take your bae on a French getaway filled with amazing eats, a Seine boating excursion, and strolls around the Tuileries and Luxembourg Gardens. Oh, and lots of wine. While there, look out for Colette, a design and décor store where fashion, beauty and tech meet.
(Image credit: Le Blanc Spa Resort)
Forget everything you associate with Cancun (including spring break) because it’s having a renaissance and is suddenly hot again. After a short (and inexpensive) flight, you can check into a boutique luxury hotel like Le Blanc Spa Resort, ME Cancun, or the super luxurious Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa and the Rosewood Mayakobá in even quieter neighbor Riviera Nayarit. Spend your time beach hopping and snorkeling (Isla Mujeres is a great close by option) and fine dining (Du Mexique — maybe the cutest six table restaurant and garden you’ve ever seen, La Fonda Del Zancudo, and Julia Mia are all winners.)
From Guatemala City airport, Antigua is less than an hour away and a hot spot for tourists and expats alike these days. Spanish architecture, countless boutiques, cute cafes and restaurants — this small city that’s surrounded by volcanoes in southern Guatemala has it all. Be sure to take a day trip to Chichicastenango (the famous market in Guatemala at the top of a hill surrounded by churches) and for lodging, consider Casa Santo Domingo or Panza Verde.
Manchester, United Kingdom
London is great, sure, but if you really want to live like a Brit for the weekend, check out Manchester, one of the U.K.’s largest cities located in Northwest England. After making an obligatory pit stop at the National Football Museum, you can go shopping at intu Trafford Centre, sip cocktails at The Alchemist Spinningfields, or grab a bite at Manchester House, Almost Famous, or Gray’s Ladder. If you’re trying to be fancy (you know, after saving on airfare) spend your nights at The Lowry Hotel or Hotel Gotham on King Street, but there’s also a lot of affordable options as well.
Known for its beautiful people and harborside charm, Stockholm is a traveler’s dream come true. You can do a walking tour of Gamla Stan (the old town), swing by Skansen (an open-air museum with a zoo featuring Nordic animals!), imagine the grand life at one of the Palaces like Drottningholm, act like a kid at Gröna Lund (a seasonable amusement park), and learn a thing or two about the Nobel Prize at the prizewinners’ museum.
This Dutch Caribbean island (just off the coast of Venezuela) is known for its crystal waters, beaches tucked into coves, super-friendly locals (65 different nationalities live here!) and of course, Blue Curaçao drink, but it’s also an easy trip and one worth taking. Touristy must-dos: Visit the capital, Willemstad, to play House Hunters International — there are adorable pastel-colored colonials everywhere — and Den Paradera (Dinah’s Botanic & Historic Garden).
Located on the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is known for its rustic, coastal charm, which you can still enjoy with a day or quick overnight to Rijeka from the capital and cosmopolitan city of Zagreb. Often compared to Vienna, Zagreb is manageable in size but packs a ton of beautiful Austro-Hungarian architecture and design inspo, like Take Me Home, Modus Design Shop and the aptly named Croatian Design Superstore, full of furniture, décor and lighting pop up shops.
Bonus: Vieques, Puerto Rico
Although this destination is not *technically* outside the U.S., it still feels international, given its island life state (envision wild horses grazing the beaches and pretty much everywhere else). Plus, Puerto Rico is super affordable right now. Stay at the W Retreat & Spa for their unbeatable rooms, eclectic decor, and awesome beach, but be sure to swing by the newly opened El Blok for a rooftop swim and rosé.